Lupus or SLE is a common autoimmune condition, which are conditions that result from your body’s immune system attacking itself. It can affect numerous organ systems and regions of the body and cannot be cured, though treatments are available to help manage the disease and slow its progress.
If your loved one has lupus, it can be hard to understand what they’re going through. That’s why we compiled this list of 5 things you should know about lupus so that you can be more understanding when problems come up and a better companion the rest of the time.
1. Lupus cannot be cured
Lupus occurs when the body’s immune system over-activates and begins attacking healthy tissues as though they are foreign invaders. This results in a complex, multi-system disease that cannot be cured.
The impossibility of being cured is part of the mental state of anyone who deals with lupus every day and should also be clearly understood by their loved ones to help them through it emotionally.
2. Lupus can affect nearly every bodily system
Source: Store Medisinske Leksikon
Lupus can strike nearly every core system in the sufferer’s body, including the major organs, skin, joints, and even the brain. This could result in joint pain, fatigue, and even skin rashes (known as the “butterfly rash” for the specific pattern caused by lupus).
Being understanding about bodily changes is an important part of having a loved one with lupus.
3. Lupus can “flare”
A flare-up with lupus means that the symptoms become more pronounced periodically, which can make working, playing, or just relaxing very difficult in unplanned ways.
Helping someone with lupus work through their flare-ups and being understanding about what they can and can’t do during them is a key factor in improving their quality of life.
4. Lupus symptoms can be helped with diet changes
Lupus may not have a cure, but the condition responds to lifestyle modifications such as a lupus-friendly diet and skin protection. The lupus diet aims to cut out inflammation-causing processed foods and sugars and add foods that fight inflammation and improve skin and organ health.
Be supportive of your loved ones’ diet and help them stick to it to better manage their symptoms.
5. Lupus and stress are best friends
Source: Wikimedia Commons
The final thing you should know about lupus is that stress and lupus often team up to make people’s symptoms way worse, even triggering a flare-up. Anything you can do to reduce stress can directly help your loved one’s lupus symptoms.
This includes not only helping them stay on the right diet but also anything else that can encourage them to relax, feel a part of a community, and get through their flare-ups.
Lupus is so complicated that some people call it “the disease of a thousand faces.” Knowing that, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that it’s complicated to treat and manage lupus, every case of which is very different.
However, knowing these 5 things can help you be a better companion to someone with lupus, not only by understanding them but even potentially helping them reduce their symptoms and live happier.
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